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THE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Lazarus Dokora has dismissed claims that non-isiNdebele speaking teachers deployed in the Matabeleland region were contributing towards poor pass rates in schools.
The Minister said this on Wednesday during the National Assembly’s question and answer session.
Dokora said there was no relation between poor pass rates and language differences.
He said this after Umzingwane had asked him about the government’s policy on the deployment of Shona-speaking teachers in Matabeleland, where isiNdebele is the most used language.
The minister said it was not the government’s policy to discriminate against teachers based on language differences.
“To associate language and failure on a one-to-one relationship is misleading and is not educational in terms of an analysis of this phenomenon of pass rates or performance of learners. If it were true that it is on a one-to-one relationship, I would be getting 100 percent passes in those areas where the teacher is a mother language speaker of that area,” said Dokora.
He said it was unfair for parents to call for the transfer of teachers from Matabeleland region based on one’s language.
“We must disabuse ourselves of that conception. While I’ve a lot of sympathy for the infant school module where I’m conscious of that fact that we must communicate to these children in as homely and appropriate language as we can, it can’t be done in a dramatic fashion. I particularly noted the use of the word ‘ukuxotshwa’ (expel). I don’t think as a country we can actually say ‘abantu kabaxotshwe’ (people should be expelled) on account of language,” said Dokora.
He said although the country adopted a new Constitution in 2013 that recognises 16 official languages, it will take time for them to be taught in schools.
“The Constitution is as old as 2013. It’s in that Constitution that the 15 languages plus one, which is sign language, are acknowledged. The education system is quite clearly much older than the Constitution which has just come in,” he said.
The minister insisted that his ministry had engaged Great Zimbabwe University on a minority languages teaching programme for 320 teachers in Chichangani, Chitonga, and Nambya.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga had raised concerns that poor school pass rates, especially in Matabeleland, were as a result of teachers failing to appreciate their pupils’ mother language.
She said although the country’s constitution recognised 16 official languages, this has not changed anything in the teaching of minority languages in schools.
The deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland region has in recent years raised the ire of people from the region who blame it for contributing to low pass rates.
Last week in Lupane district, parents called for the dismissal of a Shona-speaking headmistress at Mlamuli Secondary School.
Last year, seven men were arrested for storming a school in Mangwe district demanding the removal of a headmistress claiming she was a Shona.
The group, comprising villagers from Makuzeze area in Mangwe district and some members of the Mthwakazi Joint Youth Resolution, confronted Makuzeze Primary School head Victoria Pasipanodya.
Unbeknown to the group, Pasipanodya was only married to a Shona man, but was of Ndebele origin and her maiden name was Nyathi.
Pasipanodya, who has transferred to Kwite Primary School in the same district, said she left the school because of the threats. By Nqobile Tshili source-Chronicle.
photo-Education Minister , Lazarus Dokora